Italian broadcaster Mediaset is set to acquire exclusive rights for football’s 2018 Fifa World Cup.
A Mediaset spokesperson told Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano that Fifa, the sport’s global governing body, will release a statement on the matter in the next week.
According to reports, Mediaset has agreed to pay €78m ($92m) for the exclusive rights – less than half the value of the fee paid for the rights of the previous two editions of the tournament.
Italy, which won the World Cup as recently as 2006, failed to qualify for next year’s tournament in Russia after losing to Sweden in a play-off. It will be the first time in 60 years that Italy will not play at the World Cup.
Italian state broadcaster Rai, which reportedly tabled a bid of €65m for the rights, has been the traditional broadcaster of World Cup games in Italy.
Mediaset has committed to showing games on free-to-air channels Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4, the report said.
The sales process in Italy is being jointly handled by Fifa and the MP & Silva agency, the governing body’s sales representative in the country for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.